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Goldfish in the horse trough
nibble at morning’s surface.

They are not busy;
they are breathing.

The sparrow threading straw
under the eaves lifts whips

of time to his mate’s music.
This is the opposite of business.

Birds, even singing, can be
the architects of our silence.

Would you be healed by being?
Then be here.

Of course, that’s obvious, isn’t it?
There is no other where.

Last night, the horse laughing
in the field grunted me to still-standing.

So I stood and listened after
my friend went to bed

having asked me, without wheedling
or pleading, Can you make me feel

not like a failure? I can’t, I said.
But I can advise you to watch

the wagtail drop from this eave
like the plumb-line of rain falling.

It doesn’t fret about the minutiae
of rising. When needed, it rises.

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The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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